Monday, July 25, 2016

What gives with

I recently signed up for some web services with Canadian hosting company 247-host.  As usual, I gave them my credit card details and expected that to be the end of it.  Instead I got an email as below.  The email sounded like a classic scam to me so I declined to give the info requested and asked for a refund of what I had paid.  I expected that to be the end of it with my money lost

But here's the funny thing.  They DID refund my money!  They had my money all along but still wanted extra documentation.  Very strange indeed!  If they were crooks, why did they refund my money?  And if they were honest, why did they demand all my personal details?  It makes no sense.

I have been buying stuff off the net for years and I have NEVER had an enquiry such as the one below.  Once a supplier has my  money, that has always been sufficient.  Very strange people indeed!  The best theory I can come up with to explain it is that they are very clever crooks.  Or maybe they just don't want customers.  At a minimum their PR skills are at rock bottom

247-host URGENT Credit Card Validation Needed

Dear Customer,

Due to the recent fraud activity we have been receiving for credit card payments we will require a copy of your government issued ID (for example drivers license, passport etc.) and credit card ending in 9916

Please fax these 2 documents to us at 1-514-439-3249 or you can email it to us.

We need these documents within the next 24 hours for our records.
Inability to provide valid documentation within 24 hours will result in cancellation of the order.

If you are unable to provide this information you can pay using paypal or western union. Please email us back if you have any questions or concerns.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.


Phone: 1-877-791-3474


France takes centre stage in the clash of civilisations

by Henry Ergas

When the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille was celebrated on July 14, 1790 in an elaborate “Feast of the Federation”, the 20-year-old Wordsworth rhapsodised that “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven,” while an ageing Kant mused that humanity might finally have “matured”. Two centuries later, at least 10 children and 74 adults lie dead, mowed down as they celebrated Bastille Day on Nice’s iconic Promenade des Anglais.

The timing of the attack, which has been claimed by Islamic State, may have been simply opportunistic and there is considerable uncertainty about the perpetrator. But the conflict between the ideals of the French revolution and Islamic fundamentalism’s world-view is as obvious as the differences are irreconcilable. The revolution extolled reason; the fundamentalists worship at the alter of apocalyptic irrationality. And the revolution proclaimed (although it often failed to respect) freedom, including freedom of religion; the fundamentalists seek a caliphate in which only the laws of Islam prevail.

But the revolution also established an enduring concept of citizenship that underpinned the French nation, “one and indivisible”. Far more than any other European country, it was open to foreigners; it demanded, however, that they join the nation on its terms. As Michael Walzer put it, “foreigners were welcomed — so long as they learned the French language, committed themselves to the republic, sent their children to state schools, and celebrated Bastille Day”.

It was equally insistent on what they were not to do: isolate themselves in ethnic enclaves that clashed with the broader community of citizens. Already in 1791, the refusal of a right to differentiate and divide was expressed in the Legislative Assembly’s debate on the emancipation of the Jews by Clermont-Tonnerre, a deputy of the centre, when he spoke for the majority (which favoured emancipation): “One must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation,” Clermont-Tonnerre declared, “and grant everything to the Jews as individuals.”

That principle — that citizenship was not a mere scrap of paper but a personal act of adherence to the country’s norms and trad­itions — proved remarkably successful, integrating generations of immigrants who were happy to call themselves French citizens. However, as France has grappled with its 4.7 million Muslims, it has completely broken down. Michele Tribalat, who as director of research at France’s National Institute of Demography pioneered the analysis of ethnic data, highlights the trends in her recent book Assimilation: the End of the French Model.

Nowhere are the differences Tribalat examines starker than in respect of religion. Among the non-Muslim population, secularisation is the order of the day, with the proportion declaring themselves to be of no religion climbing from 40 per cent for the cohort born in the years between 1958 and 1970 to 60 per cent for that of 1981-1990. In contrast, for French residents of North African origin, that share has collapsed, with the proportion that are not religious declining from 45 per cent for the older cohort to 20 per cent for the younger.

The disparity is even greater in the numbers who regard religion as very important in everyday life. In the 1958-1970 cohort, there were twice as many Catholics as Muslims for whom religion mattered a great deal; now, in the country which long prided itself on being the “eldest daughter” of the church, there are more devout young Muslims than devout young Catholics and Protestants combined.

Accompanying those trends are others. As young Muslims have become more religious, they have become stricter in observing dietary and dress requirements and in placing emphasis on religious instruction. Meanwhile, intermarriage rates between Muslims and non-Muslims remain extremely low, both absolutely and relative to intermarriage rates overall.

There is, in other words, a growing divide between France’s Muslim and non-Muslim populations. For sure, the country’s notoriously high minimum wage and its rigid labour laws — which together condemn the poorly educated to unemployment — have aggravated that separation. But it would be wrong to view the underlying tendencies as primarily economic: rather, Tribalat shows, they have occurred in every income group and social class, including the relatively well-off.

In and of itself, a renewal of religion would hardly be cause for concern: the world could use more faith. What it does not need, however, is the fanaticism that has accompanied the Islamic revival, in France and elsewhere, and that so readily degenerates into a cult of death. With Islamist terrorists committing 250 murders in France in barely 18 months, the question is where the country goes next.

On that there is no consensus; but it is increasingly clear that familiar remedies, such as the costly “de-radicalisation” programs under way in the region around Nice, have few benefits. As for empowering the imams themselves, as France has sought to do since the early 1990s, that has just entrenched religion as a social dividing line, as Malek Bouthih, a socialist parliamentarian of Algerian origin who authored the official report on last year’s massacres, has repeatedly emphasised.

In their place, there is a growing recognition of realities: even Francois Hollande is unlikely to say, as he did immediately after the attack at Charlie Hebdo, that the terrorists “have nothing to do with Islam”. And as the state of emergency is renewed for another three months, the already extensive security measures are set to become even more far-reaching.

France is therefore paying a high price for the “clash of civilisations” it was so slow to acknowledge. Islam, as Samuel Huntington wrote, “has bloody borders”; now, with the chaos in the Islamic world only deepening, those borders lie within France. As yet more victims are laid to rest, the lodestars of 1789 — liberty, equality and fraternity — seem more urgent, and more elusive, than ever.



VA Supreme Court Strikes Down McAuliffe's Executive Order Giving Felons Right to Vote

Despite Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s sweeping executive order that sought to restore voting rights to felons in Virginia, they will not be able to cast their ballot at voting booths come November thanks to the commonwealth’s Supreme Court, which declared the order unconstitutional on Friday.

The high court heard oral arguments earlier this week. The plaintiffs in the case, led by leaders from the Republican-controlled legislature, argued that McAuliffe’s move was unconstitutional. The court agreed, and ordered the Virginia Department of Elections to “cancel the registration of all felons who have been invalidly registered,” under the April 22 executive order.

As many as 11,662 felons had registered to vote thanks to the executive order. The order was widely viewed as a move to help Hillary Clinton by all-but-ensuring Virginia goes blue in the November general election, since most convicts register Democratic.



Trump Scheduled to Receive Intelligence Breifings

After winning the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, Donald Trump is now set to receive U.S. intelligence briefings, according to ABC News.

This will mark the first time that someone who has never served in government will receive the intelligence briefings.

After each party's convention and each candidate is chosen, both nominees will receive the same briefings about threats from around the world.  The Democratic National Convention concludes on Thursday, where Hillary Clinton is expected to accept the nomination.

Current and former officials have expressed concern over briefing Clinton, due to her handling of classified information when she was secretary of State the use of a  personal email as a means of communication.



Murderous government doctors in Britain

They just can't be bothered with the elderly.  The architects of Obamacare had a similar attitude

Doctors at one of the country's leading hospitals condemned a veteran to die on a notorious 'death pathway' after they wrongly decided he could not be saved.

Great-grandfather Josef Boberek was admitted to Hammersmith Hospital in West London with a chest infection, but died days later after doctors incorrectly told his family that he was at death's door and deliberately withdrew his fluids and normal medication.

Now an official health watchdog report seen by The Mail on Sunday has revealed that the pensioner would have lived and returned to his normal life had he received proper treatment and not been placed on the discredited Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

Mr Boberek's daughter Jayne, who fought a three-year battle to uncover the truth, said last night: 'My father was condemned to an unnecessary early death by the doctors. They had no right to take his life, and him away from me.'

The damning report by the Health Service Ombudsman found a litany of failings at the hospital, including:

    Doctors claimed Mr Boberek was suffering from terminal heart and kidney failure when he was not;

    Although he was frail, he would almost certainly have lived if he had been properly treated;

    He was not suffering from dementia, as stated in his medical notes.

In what is believed to be the first time hospital chiefs have publicly accepted that the LCP had 'killed' a patient, the Imperial College Healthcare Trust told Miss Boberek that 'if the failings had not happened, on the balance of probabilities your father would have survived and returned to his nursing home'.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

An appreciation of Ivanka from Britain

The Trump campaign is absolutely right to concentrate their convention publicity on Donald as a person, as a fine character, as an admirable man with the runs already on the board.  People rarely vote for detailed policies.  They vote for the man who sounds broadly right and whom they like as a  person.  They vote for the man, not the platform.  And Ivanka  pushed that strategy along enormously -- JR.

Last night was the big night at the Republican National Convention. It was the night most people had been waiting for. A night to hear the star of the show telling the watching world how to Make America Great Again. The noise from the crowds showed Trump didn't disappoint.

The surprising thing? The Trump in question wasn’t Donald, it was Ivanka. The 34 year old mum-of-three stole the show. She won the audience in the arena and at home.

On Google there were more searches for Ivanka than for Donald. On Twitter there were 121 tweets mentioning a Ivanka a minute, positive beating negative 3:1.

As I sat watching her, prepared to curl my toes and cringe at a this strange perfect princess, I was suddenly on my feet, applauding with the boys.

I was wrong.  She was outstanding.

I realised, the next woman in the White House might not be Hillary Clinton. It may well be Ivanka Trump. And not because she is a woman, but because she is a worker.

She stole all of Hillary's best material. Not as blatantly as Melania - which became the story of the early week. But with authenticity, gained from her role as mother of three.

She had a baby just a few weeks ago. I thought she might milk that, in the way new mums love to crow about childbirth like they are warriors fresh from the maternity suite, competing to win the gore-fest.  I should have known better. Ivanka was up looking immaculate, doing the school run three days later.

She is a true professional, not playing the woman card transparently - like Hillary. Rather dealing a perfect flush, with poise and purpose.

Her single focus - supporting her father. Her critical mission - showing why women matter, especially to him. And how women will help make America Great Again. She doesn't buy into Clinton's mantra 'I'm with her'. She's there to say to Millennials 'He's backing us'.  And she did it with aplomb.

Before you tut tut and tell me it's easy for a rich kid, she acknowledged she has been more privileged than most.

And I'd argue the Trump kids have turned out to be surprisingly normal, given the nonsense that comes with vast amounts of money.

Running her own business, supporting her family of three and travelling the country for her father's campaign, I suspect there is more hard work and sleepless nights than pamper days in a salon.

She is part of the Family Meeting every morning, agreeing on campaign strategy and spending. And is everywhere on the campaign trail, fast becoming the face everyone wants on their selfie.

She spoke about equal pay for woman, reminding the floor her fathers' company employs more female executives than males, that women with children will be supported not shut out.

She was ripping carpet right out under Clinton's feet. Stealing her lines. Fronting up to claims he is a misogynist or racist with facts about the Trump business.  'He will fight for equal pay for equal work. He is colour-blind and gender neutral'.

At times, she was too liberal for me, too democratic, suggesting the government should offer more help with childcare. Ask British employers what they think about that country’s generous maternity pay that can see mothers take up to a year off.

Having said that, America offers just six weeks unpaid maternity leave, making parents not employers solely responsible for the decision and cost of having a baby.

Importantly Ivanka spoke of equal pay for equal work, not equal pay for all...a subtle but important differentiation. We do not all work equally hard.  She spoke of equitable pay.

Ivanka only switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican late last year, missing the deadline to cast her ballot in the April 19 primary and vote for her father.  But last night, she made up for that and more.

As a mum-of-three, on the cusp of losing them to their teenage years, I see success quite differently than I did before. Success is families which still like each other, still want to be together on holiday or for dinner - through choice not obligation.

Success to me is your grown up children being with you because they want to, despite all the other offers on the table. And Trump has succeeded here.

Despite three marriages, some pretty strange looking family photos and five children competing for attention, he has a family that genuinely seem to like each other.

The cynic in me had laughed at their pictures, imagining them all loathing their step-mum, her face frozen in time. And pitying the grown man called Donald Junior, inheriting his dad's name and the catalogue of mockery that goes with it.  But I am happy to acknowledge I was wrong. I was the cynic.

Ivanka reminded us 'if it is possible to be famous and not known at all, that's my dad'. She showed us a side previously unseen.

His kids don't just still talk to him, they speak up for him, supporting the dad they love. I suspect they spend Christmas with him because they want to, and that's the best compliment for which any parent could wish.

They made Trump human. Sharing stories of calling him from school, inside the janitor closet. But a man who had high expectations for them from the off.

When she was little he told her, 'since your going to be thinking anyway, you may as well be thinking big'. And even their harshest critics had only good things to say.

If this Republican Convention showed us anything, it showed us Donald Trump has an impressive set of kids, acknowledging their privilege, but working hard to deliver on the expectation that comes with it.

Ivanka reminded the massive crowds her father sees the struggles faced by middle-class America. "Other politicians see these hardships, see the unfairness of it all, and they say I feel for you. Only my father will say, I’ll fight for you".

And she reminded them UK's be right there, fighting alongside him, for women.

At the Republican Convention it seemed a new political dynasty was born. Like JFK before him, Donald Trump managed to come out on the side of the little guy. A rich man who stands shoulder to shoulder with the bricklayer. A family man with grown children who want to be with him. A famous man who remains strangely unknown. A blue collar billionaire with a big heart.

One man, a Republican delegate in Cleveland, carried a placard all week around the convention that read: 'Ivanka, 2024. First Female President'.  After last night, he didn't seem quite so mad after all


UPDATE:  Ivanka did of course look gorgeous.  So it is no wonder  that the dress she wore -- from her own fashion collection -- is now sold out nationwide!


Notes From Cleveland: The Two-Part Rebellion

Sore loser Ted Cruz destroys his own political future

Charles Krauthammer

The main purpose of the modern political convention is to produce four days of televised propaganda. The subsidiary function, now that nominees are invariably chosen in advance, is structural: Unify the party before the final battle. In Cleveland, the Republicans achieved not unity, but only a rough facsimile.

The internal opposition consisted of two factions. The more flamboyant was led by Ted Cruz. Its first operation — an undermanned, underplanned, mini-rebellion over convention rules — was ruthlessly steamrolled on Day One. Its other operation was Cruz’s Wednesday night convention speech in which, against all expectation, he refused to endorse Donald Trump.

It’s one thing to do this off-site. It’s another thing to do it as a guest at a celebration of the man you are rebuking.

Cruz left the stage to a cascade of boos, having delivered the longest suicide note in American political history. If Cruz fancied himself following Ronald Reagan in 1976, the runner-up who overshadowed the party nominee in a rousing convention speech that propelled him four years later to the nomination, he might reflect on the fact that Reagan endorsed Gerald Ford.

Cruz’s rebellion would have a stronger claim to conscience had he not obsequiously accommodated himself to Trump during the first six months of the campaign. Cruz reinforced that impression of political calculation when, addressing the Texas delegation Thursday morning, he said that “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” That he should feel so is not surprising. What is surprising is that he said this publicly, thus further undermining his claim to acting on high principle.

The other faction of the anti-Trump opposition was far more subtle. These are the leaders of the party’s congressional wing who’ve offered public allegiance to Trump while remaining privately unreconciled. You could feel the reluctance of these latter-day Marranos in the speeches of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

McConnell’s pitch, as always, was practical and direct. We’ve got things to achieve in the Senate. Obama won’t sign. Clinton won’t sign. Trump will.

Very specific, very instrumental. Trump will be our enabler, an instrument of the governing (or if you prefer, establishment) wing of the party.

This is mostly fantasy and rationalization, of course. And good manners by a party leader obliged to maintain a common front. The problem is that Trump will not allow himself to be the instrument of anyone else’s agenda. Moreover, the Marranos necessarily ignore the most important role of a president, conducting foreign and military policy abroad, which is almost entirely in his hands.

Ryan was a bit more philosophical. He presented the reformicon agenda, dubbed the Better Way, for which he too needs a Republican in the White House. Ryan pointedly kept his genuflections to the outsider-king to a minimum: exactly two references to Trump, to be precise.

Moreover, in defending his conservative philosophy, he noted that at its heart lies “respect and empathy” for “all neighbors and countrymen” because “everyone is equal, everyone has a place” and “no one is written off.” Not exactly Trump’s Manichaean universe of winners and losers, natives and foreigners (including judges born and bred in Indiana).

Together, McConnell and Ryan made clear that if Trump wins, they are ready to cooperate. And if Trump loses, they are ready to inherit.

The loyalist (i.e., Trumpian) case had its own stars. It was most brilliantly presented by the ever-fluent Newt Gingrich, the best natural orator in either party, whose presentation of Trumpism had a coherence and economy of which Trump is incapable.

Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence gave an affecting, self-deprecating address that managed to bridge his traditional conservatism with Trump’s insurgent populism. He managed to make the merger look smooth, even natural.

Rudy Giuliani gave the most energetic loyalist address, a rousing law-and-order manifesto, albeit at an excitement level that surely alarmed his cardiologist.

And Chris Christie’s prosecutorial indictment of Hillary Clinton for crimes of competence and character was doing just fine until he went to the audience after each charge for a call-and-response of “guilty or not guilty.” The frenzied response was a reminder as to why trials are conducted in a courtroom and not a coliseum.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Friday, July 22, 2016

Ryan Gives Surprisingly Pro-Trump Speech at Republican Convention

On Tuesday night, House speaker Paul Ryan gave a surprisingly enthusiastic speech on behalf of Donald Trump, imploring Republicans to give it their all in 2016 and "unify this party" in the interest of achieving "a conservative governing majority."

Here is an edited version of Ryan's remarks:

"…Democracy is a series of choices. We Republicans have made our choice. Have we had our arguments this year? Sure, we have. You know what I call those? Signs of life, signs of a party that's not just going through the motions, not just mouthing new words for the same old stuff….

"Watch the Democratic Party convention next week, that four-day infomercial of politically correct moralizing, and let it be a reminder of all that is at stake in this election.

"You can get through four days of it with a little help from the mute button, but four more years of it?

"...Look, the Obama years are almost over. The Clinton years are way over. 2016 is the year America moves on!

"…Progressives like to talk, like our president, like to talk forever about poverty in America. And if high-sounding talk did any good, we'd have overcome those deep problems long ago. This explains why under the most liberal president we have had so far, poverty in America is worse, especially for our fellow citizens who were promised better and who need it most.

"The result is a record of discarded promises, empty gestures, phony straw-man arguments, reforms put off forever, shady power plays like the one that gave us Obamacare, constitutional limits brushed off as nothing, and all the while dangers in the world downplayed, even as the threats go bolder and come closer.

"It's the last chapter of an old story. Progressives deliver everything except progress.



A Culturally Suicidal Progressive Ideology

We either reject progressive ideology, or endure a "reasonable" amount of terror as the new normal.

Unless Western society is willing to commit mass suicide — and one cannot say for certain that it isn’t — we cannot abide a bankrupt progressive ideology whose symbiotic relationship with Islamic terror can no longer be disputed.

The latest attack in Nice was perpetrated by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, another Islamic State-recruited savage representing an equally bankrupt political system governed by Sharia Law. One whose “Religion of Peace™” component can only be separated from the whole by Muslim apostates and deluded progressives. Progressives who imagine they are welcoming one without the other into their nations. Progressives so corrupted by political correctness they are incapable of seeing — or are willing to abide — the disintegration of their own nations, lest they offend the enemies of civilization.

The roots of progressive rot run deep. The secularist welfare state, and its cultivated indifference for the nuclear family, has produced a demographic crisis whereby native populations in Europe and the United States are reproducing at below-replacement birthrates, even as those same populations have been nurtured to embrace a bounty of entitlements far in excess of what is affordable.

The progressive “solution” to the problem? Import millions of unassimilable immigrants sold as humanitarianism. Stripped of pious platitudes, this devil’s bargain should be seen for what it really is: the sacrifice of national heritage for a retirement check, and the further indoctrination of the young with the belief that cultural self-loathing is the natural order of things.

In the EU this date with cultural extinction is facilitated by appeasers like French President Francois Hollande, a socialist hypocrite who pays nearly $11,000 per month for haircuts while his nation burns, or German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who welcomed more than 1.1 million “refugees” into Germany — along with the virtually inevitable rape epidemic that attends those who view women as chattel.

Yet as bad as these feckless EU leaders are, they pale by comparison to their American counterparts. Our nation is afflicted with Secretary of State John Kerry, a terminally arrogant windbag with a long track record of undermining American interests that include betraying his Vietnam War comrades-in-arms, warning a subsequent generation of potential soldiers that only the uneducated “get stuck” in Iraq, and thanking the Iranians for the return of American soldiers they captured and humiliated as propaganda props. The same John Kerry who insists that increasing levels of Islamic State-perpetrated slaughter indicate they are “desperate” and “on the run.”

We also endure the equally arrogant and far more narcissistic Barack Obama, who accommodated the same apocalyptic-minded regime by not “meddling” while Iranian dissidents were being slaughtered in the streets in 2009, and who would now allow Boeing to sell the foremost sponsor of state terror jetliners less than a generation removed from 9/11. A commander in chief whose adamant avoidance of the term “radical Islamist,” even when San Bernardino and Orlando slaughterers openly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State, was finally abandoned — not to identify the enemy, but rather to disparage Donald Trump and all “bigoted” Americans connecting Islam to terror.

A 2012 re-election candidate who assured us al-Qaida was “on the run” while his premature withdrawal from Iraq was enabling its reinvigoration. A man who reflexively sides with Islamist thugs, be it Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while funding a progressive NGO attempting to prevent the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015.

A man whose nearly two-year-old promise to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State rings hollower and hollower with each successive tragedy. Did it ever occur to a single politician or journalist to ask why “degrade” is even part of the equation?

And worst of all, progressives abide an amoral Hillary Clinton, who could face the families of Americans killed in Benghazi and lie without conscience or remorse. A woman whose own tenure as secretary of state engendered a series of unmitigated disasters that began with a Russian “reset” enabling the tyrannical urges of Vladimir Putin, and ended with the devolution of Libya into another jihadist playground following her determination to remove Moammar Gadhafi. A woman so bereft of genuine accomplishments she herself couldn’t even name one in an interview with Diane Sawyer. A woman so consumed by personal interest she willingly compromised national security to avoid personal accountability — even as she has the unmitigated gall to assure us she would be “focused on the intelligence surge” to fight terror.

Their followers are equally compromised. In 2015, 28,328 people were killed in terrorist attacks, and yet progressives abide rolling out the red carpet for invaders — including an Obama administration that conspires with the UN to find “alternative safe pathways” aimed at settling as many as 200,000 woefully under-vetted Syrian refugees in America rather than the 10,000 originally announced — and then “fixing” the inevitably catastrophic results with an ever-increasing expansion of police-state initiatives. Simultaneously, they virtually ignore terrorist incubators abroad whose ability to inspire grossly misnamed “lone wolf” attacks remain as viable as ever.

Moreover, progressives remain mindlessly wedded to the standard-issue narrative that the majority of Muslims side with Western nations, when nothing could be further from the truth. Is America or the EU witnessing a mass uprising of condemnation from Muslim communities following these attacks? Are Muslims turning in the potential time bombs living in their midst? Is there a major movement among young Muslim men to liberate their own societies from the scourge of terror?

No, no and no. Instead we get terrorist co-conspirators CAIR and a corrupt media bemoaning a wave of “Islamophobia,” as if increased skepticism of Islamic intentions following actual atrocities is irrational. We get reports of jihadists able to plot their attacks from the safe confines of separatist enclaves like Schaerbeek and Molenbeek, where the populace protects its own, and cowardly progressive politicians look the other way while they do so. And on both sides of the Atlantic, able-bodied male “refugees” prefer indulging the in bounties of EU and American welfare state largesse.

Moreover, we get the Islamic State openly admitting they’re infiltrating refugee populations, and fulfilling promises to attack the West during the month of Ramadan.

“[Nice] is a security failure on a colossal level,” stated counterterrorism expert Aaron Cohen. No doubt it was. But what precedes that failure is an infuriating progressive denialism that make genuine security virtually impossible.

Western society is at an inflection point. We either reject progressive ideology, or endure a “reasonable” amount of terror as the new normal. Better to declare war against every Islamic terror group, and ignore progressive surrenderists who insist you can’t stamp out an idea.

This struggle is not about ideas. It’s about willpower, perseverance and the triumph of civilization over savagery. And while we’re at it, finally and forcefully dismissing the intellectual degeneracy of those who would literally abide the West’s destruction to preserve their open border, multiculturalist, one world fantasies.



Who Gets Absolute Moral Authority?

Michelle Malkin

It seems like yesterday when Champion of Wimmin Maureen Dowd, bemoaning the lack of sympathy for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, declared in The New York Times that "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."  No ifs, ands or other hedging qualifiers. Absolutely absolute.

And it was just a blink of an eye ago that the same New York Times spilled barrels of adulatory ink on the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls. Remember them? The quartet of Democratic women parlayed their post-terror attack plight into powerful roles as Bush-bashing citizen lobbyists.

Their story, the lib narrative-shaping paper of record reported, was a "tale of a political education, and a sisterhood born of grief."

Moms and widows deserved special consideration in the public square, the argument went a decade ago. Their experience and their testimony warranted respect, deference and the national spotlight.

But then, as now, only a special class of victims is entitled to cash in the Absolute Moral Authority card. Not all parents and spouses who have lost loved ones can join the Club of the Unquestioned and Unassailable.

On Monday night at the Republican National Convention, Pat Smith shared her own tale of a political education born of grief after her diplomat son, Sean Smith, died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton, she passionately insisted, "deserves to be in stripes!"

GQ sports writer Nathaniel Friedman showed his compassion for Smith's loss and pain by tweeting, "I don't care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death."

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who had helped make Cindy Sheehan a media star and urged her to run for Congress based on her status as a grieving war mom, fumed that Pat Smith had "ruined" the entire convention with her heartfelt testimony. The smug Democratic political operative turned TV bloviator, who had also elevated the Jersey Girls' celebrity status with multiple bookings on his show, couldn't bear to speak Smith's name:

"I don't care what that woman up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own, but for the country in choosing a leader, it's wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chimed in on the same network that he was disgusted with how the GOP convention was using Smith to "exploit a tragedy."

GOP-bashers heaped similar derision on father Jamiel Shaw Sr. and mothers Sabine Durden and Mary Ann Mendoza, who all spoke at the convention about losing children to criminals who had slipped illegally through open borders and revolving deportation doors. "Progressives" sneered at Shaw as an "Uncle Tom" for pointing out that Latino gangbangers targeted his black son because of his race. The intolerant tolerance mob also accused Durden of being "fooled" and Durden and Mendoza of being "exploited for apocalyptic theater."

Will these horrified hang-wringers be as outspokenly offended next week when the Democratic National Convention dedicates an entire evening to the so-called Mothers of the Movement?

Among the sainted moms of the Black Lives Matter movement who will speak on Hillary Clinton's behalf are Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Each of these cases lumped under supposedly unjustified gun violence and systemic racism is complicated and distinct. For starters, Bland hanged herself when her friends and family wouldn't bail her out of jail after she had kicked a police officer. Two of the "children" involved in police shootings (Brown and Hamilton) had assaulted cops during their fatal encounters.

But drop all questions and doubts. "These mothers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness around the issues that surround their children's deaths," the liberal Huffington Post reports.

Because these women endorse race-baiting, gun-grabbing narratives and left-wing candidates, no one working in the mainstream media will ever challenge their parental prerogative to participate in politics on behalf of their loved ones.

Moms who have lost their children to Democratic incompetence, corruption and open-borders treachery are out of luck. The dealers of Absolute Moral Authority play with a loaded deck.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump Jr. gives an impassioned speech that hits all the right themes

Trump has reason to be proud of his family


No, President Obama, not everyone is guilty of bigotry

President Obama and his band of Clouseau-like detectives are looking for the motive of the latest murder of men in blue, this time three Baton Rouge officers. A motive that is obvious to everyone who has paid attention to Obama and his Justice Department’s non-stop assault on law enforcement, but one which Obama pretends to not see.

Obama’s presidency has been pockmarked with knee-jerk reactions against law enforcement.  From the beer summit necessitated by his overly harsh condemnation of the Cambridge Police in their arresting one of his friends, a professor, for disorderly conduct to his Administration’s reactions to Trayvon Martin, Ferguson and Baltimore as well as welcoming Black Lives Matter anarchists into the White House, President Obama and his Justice Department team have set the anti-cop tone in America.

Even in his speech at the memorial for the five assassinated Dallas law enforcement officers, Obama could not resist providing a rationale for shooting cops bringing up two black men who were recently shot by police.

As an attorney, Obama had to know that his focus upon two cases that are being adjudicated in the context of a memorial service for executed cops created a moral equivalency that can only lead to additional violence against the police.

Obama’s deliberate decision to equate the targeted deaths of five officers who were protecting a Black Lives Matter rally to two separate in the line of duty shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana and created the implicit okay for the future targeting of the police.

Make no mistake, I don’t know enough facts about the police shootings that he referenced to know if they were justified or not, but the truth is, neither did Obama.

I do know that the rash of ambushes and executions targeting law enforcement is a direct attack on the rule of law and any semblance of an orderly society. And Obama should know this as well.

Yet, his response is to double down with his 1960s radical rhetoric aimed at stoking racial division and hatred aimed at whites. It is Adjunct Professor Obama lecturing the nation about the justness of the cause of those who march against the police in Dallas saying, “We have all seen this bigotry in our lives at some point.” Obama continued at the memorial, “None of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this.”

No, President Obama, you are wrong. As if the dead cops deserved to die.

Those police officers went to work to protect the community they served. They were targeted and executed by someone who was incited by the very rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement that has marched chanting for police to be murdered.  You allowed those very elements into the White House and have helped nourish and legitimize those voices of hate who have called for cops to be killed.

President Obama, you don’t get to blame the rest of us for the evil that has been unleashed as you play the role of “Agitator in Chief” as the Black Lives Matter movement that Politico reports is funded by the far left, George Soros supported Democracy Alliance continues their hate speech.

If Obama really wanted to do something to stop the escalating violence, he would directly signal to his left wing media sycophants that the Black Lives Matter should be treated the same as their counterparts the Ku Klux Klan, forever ending their legitimacy.

But instead he just continues blaming America. If Obama really wants to find the motive for these police murders, he merely needs to read his own speeches and statements that always contextualize the attacks on the enforcers of our nation’s laws. His own unwillingness to just say no to racial hatred of all stripes is the clue that he dare not look at in his search for the motive behind these heinous attacks on police.

The motive is hate, but Obama cannot see it, because the left’s ideology demands that racial hatred is a one-way street and to admit anything else would force an honest discussion about race in America, rather than the finger pointing lecture series that Obama prefers.



Is America Losing Its Manhood?

Witnessing the myriad problems facing America, the shock and confusion as to what's happening to this great nation is overwhelming. From San Bernadino to Orlando, we have experienced multiple "lone wolf" Jihadist attacks by Americans against Americans on our home soil. Overseas, we are experiencing many foreign policy and national security challenges, including a resurgent Russia, barbarism by ISIS, and a defiant North Korea. We are facing possible economic meltdown in the U.S. with the debt surging beyond $19-trillion and the continued loss of American economic power to overseas competitors. Finally, we are seeing American police officers being targeted for assassination as they are demeaned by many attempting to cause racial strife. America previously appeared so strong and secure, and yet we now wonder why we face so many internal issues and loss of respect overseas.

What I propose as the answer is provocative, but I believe the facts will show many of our problems directly and indirectly resulting from the marginalization of the ideal of manhood.

First, statistics from the National Center for Fathering help show the extent of the problem of males not acting as men by being husbands and fathers and results:  Of students in grades 1-through-12, approximately 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers (57.6 percent of black children, 31.2 percent of Hispanic children, and 20.7 percent of white children are living absent their biological fathers). Critically important, according to 72.2 percent of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. Those raised without fathers are exponentially more likely to drop out of school, become incarcerated, live in poverty and continue the cycle of fatherlessness. Despite the attempts by so many in politics and the media to downplay traditional families and fatherhood, the statistics make clear the importance. As famed Word War II General George S. Patton said, "Duty is the essence of manhood."

Being a man means staying true to commitments, most importantly the commitment to lifelong marriage and fatherhood.

Beyond the importance of manhood in encouraging intact families (helping fix the many social problems driving our national debt), manhood is also indirectly tied to national security. Since the late 1970s, the number of women in universities in America has surpassed that of men, and for almost two decades the gap has been almost 60-percent female and 40-percent male in colleges and universities. During almost the same period of time, the American fertility rate has plunged from 3.7 in the 1960s to under 1.9 today.

Males have not been encouraged to succeed in higher education and become leaders of their families (thereby allowing women more opportunity for children raised by two parents). Virtually all encouragement from media, Hollywood, and even primary education has been toward female education and leadership, at the expense of our boys. Strong male role models for boys, depicted as competent and engaged leaders of families (in television, movies and other media) are almost non-existent. From "Married with Children" to the modern version of "Poltergeist," the fathers are invariably depicted as weak, incompetent, and not respected by family members who turn to the mothers for leadership. Men are made to appear as practically irrelevant to families in most instances informing our boys' views on their future roles.

The deemphasis and marginalization of manhood is also a direct threat to national security:  The Pentagon recently published a study which estimated only 25 percent of American youth are able to serve in the military (that's enlisted service, and officer standards of admission are even more selective). As U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski explained about the numbers, "Obesity is the single greatest non-criminal hindrance for our young people seeking to enlist in the armed forces." This statistic is shocking, but tied directly to the deemphasis of physical education and traditional rites-of-passage for men in the area of physical fitness. Men have, on average, 50 percent more upper body strength than women, and natural physical abilities which must be exercised.

Traditionally, military service has been seen as one of the rites-of-passage for men, and all men were expected to remain fit to military standards. The concept of "militia" in America has meant every man between the ages of 15 and 45 being able to serve militarily if necessary. The many recent Hollywood depictions of heroic protagonist physically fit characters are solely women (see the Hunger Games series, Divergent series, etc.). Boys are just not encouraged to challenge themselves in physical activities. In fact, many argue they are drugged with Ritalin to discourage natural impulse toward physical play. This is having a direct impact on national defense, and even the way competitor nations view America.

The recent decisions in the Department of Defense to integrate women into the Infantry and Special operations (like SEALs, Special Forces, and Rangers), as well as the decision of allow transgender service are having further impacts on marginalizing manhood.

Throughout all cultures in history, rites-of-passage for manhood have been critical to the development of men in a society. The Bible makes this clear with a number of references in the Old Testament to the idea of men being warriors with the duty to protect families. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul recognizes this inherent distinction of men when he says "Act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).   There is a time in every young man's life when he has the inborn need to prove himself to fellow men on the way to being a man. Again, enemy nations are watching and likely emboldened to know of possible weaknesses in national defense.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was emphatic in telling his male followers: "Don't let anybody take your manhood." That rhetoric for everyone was standard at the time, and followed similar statements from Hollywood stars like John Wayne and others. Today it would likely be considered "politically incorrect" and even sexist to even acknowledge the idea someone could take away someone's manhood. Dr. King was right. I commend him, and his message transcends the Civil Rights movement.  It is time for introspection about his advice. We, as a nation, should ask ourselves if we really care about the development of our boys into men. This is not just a question of the next generation of boys, but for the nation as a whole. Based on the numbers, the answer is clear. It may not be politically correct to say so, but we cannot afford to let anybody strip our nation of its manhood.



The Dumbest Idea

Thomas Sowell

If there were a contest for the most stupid idea in politics, my choice would be the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.

Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.

A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly under-represented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an “under-representation” of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.

Are there girls out there dying to play chess, who find the doors slammed shut in their faces? Are there women with Ph.D.s in computer science from M.I.T. and Cal Tech who get turned away when they apply for jobs in Silicon Valley?

Are girls and boys not allowed to have different interests? If girls had the same interest in chess as boys had, but were banned from chess clubs, that would be something very different from their not choosing to play chess as often as boys do. As for chess ratings, that is not subjective. It is based on which players, with which ratings, you have won against and lost to.

Are women and men not to be allowed to make different decisions as to how they choose to spend their time and live their lives?

Chess is not the only endeavor which can take a huge chunk of time out of your life, and unremitting efforts, to reach the top. If you want to become a top scientist, a partner in a big law firm or a top executive in a major corporation, you are very unlikely to do it working from 9 to 5, or taking a few years off, here and there, to have children and raise them.

Applying the same unsubstantiated assumption to differences in “representation” between different racial and ethnic groups likewise produces many loudly expressed grievances, political crusades, and millions of dollars from lawsuits charging discrimination — all without a speck of evidence beyond numbers that do not match the prevailing assumptions.

People who base their conclusions on hard facts often reach very different conclusions than those who base their conclusions on the preconception that outcomes would be even or random in the absence of somebody treating somebody wrong.

Something as simple as age differences among groups can doom any assumption of even or random outcomes.

If every 20-year-old Puerto Rican in the United States had an income identical with the income of every 20-year-old Japanese American — and identical incomes at every other age — Japanese Americans as a group would still have a higher average income than Puerto Ricans in the United States. That is because the median age of Japanese Americans is more than 20 years older.

People with 20 years more work experience usually make higher incomes. And age difference is just one of many differences between groups.

You can study innumerable groups in countries around the world today, or over centuries of recorded history, without finding a single example of the even or random outcomes that are used as a benchmark for determining discrimination.

Nevertheless, courts of law — including the Supreme Court of the United States — use something that has never been found anywhere as a norm to which current realities are to be compared. Billions of dollars, in the aggregate, have changed hands as a result of individual lawsuits charging discrimination.

Life is undoubtedly unfair. But that is not the same as saying that the unfairness occurred wherever the statistics were collected. The origins of this unfairness often go back to different childhood environments for individuals or different geographic or cultural settings for groups and nations.

These differences between nations, as well as differences between individuals and groups, reflect the fact that the world “has never been a level playing field,” as economic historian David S. Landes put it. Renowned historian Fernand Braudel said, “In no society have all regions and all parts of the population developed equally.”

How long will we continue to take something that has never happened, and never had much chance of happening, as a norm?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Direct measurement of IQ getting closer

Researchers say MRI scans can measure human intelligence, and define exactly what it is.

This could lead to radical leaps in AI with machines programmed to think in the same way we do.

'Human intelligence is a widely and hotly debated topic and only recently have advanced brain imaging techniques, such as those used in our current study, given us the opportunity to gain sufficient insights to resolve this and inform developments in artificial intelligence, as well as help establish the basis for understanding and diagnosis of debilitating human mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,' said Professor Jianfeng Feng of the University of Warwick, who led the research.

Together with a team in China he has has been working to quantify the brain's dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times – to discover how intellect works.

Professor Jianfeng found the more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a person's IQ and creativity are.

This study may also have implications for a deeper understanding of another largely misunderstood field: mental health.

Altered patterns of variability were observed in the brain's default network with schizophrenia, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients.

Knowing the root cause of mental health defects brings scientists exponentially closer to treating and preventing them in the future.

Using resting-state MRI analysis on thousands of people's brains around the world, the research found that the areas of the brain which are associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, meaning that they change their neural connections with other parts of the brain more frequently, over a matter of minutes or seconds.

On the other hand, regions of the brain which aren't associated with intelligence - the visual, auditory, and sensory-motor areas - show small variability and adaptability.


I have reproduced above only the parts dealing with the latest brain research.  In an rendeavour to rubbish IQ tests, the article also included a re-run of the old Hampshire research, with its extravagant conclusions.  I cover all that here


Why Donald Trump will win

NO POLITICAL LEADER since Ronald Reagan has created the excitement and buzz that Donald Trump has. He is the first politician since that late, great president to go over the heads of the media and elite ruling class and speak directly to the American people.

He is concerned that our country is no longer a country, and that America has sold out its sovereignty to a nondemocratic internationalist order, at the expense of the American worker and of American jobs. He has been criticized by opponents for not having elaborate position papers down to the last detail. Trump, unlike the robotic and dull Mitt Romney, gives no slick PowerPoint presentations. Trump merely says, “We are getting killed.” And the people know exactly what he is talking about.

Trump is an exciting political presence, responsible for drawing new people into the political process. The American people today are frustrated. They feel our whole political process is unresponsive. They continually vote for political reform, sending people to Washington hoping they will do something, and are then betrayed as the newly elected representatives become a saccharine travesty of the reform they clamored for.

What makes a country a country is its sovereignty. A country that has no borders, and whose independence is restricted by internationalist agreements, is no longer a sovereign nation. The Democrats and, sadly, some Republicans (House Speaker Ryan) would allow noncitizens the right to vote, provide free college tuition for them, and would provide welfare benefits while letting more of them stream over our unprotected borders.

It must be reiterated that Trump is not against immigration. He advocates legal immigration. His mother was an immigrant, a Gaelic speaker from the isle of Lewis, off Scotland. Trump believes the process must be legal, as it was for the millions of those who came to America’s shores over the past two centuries seeking the American dream of economic betterment, peace, and prosperity. Trump’s popularity is perplexing to the establishment. But it is readily understood by the majority of Americans.

Trump speaks for the average American worker. He wants prosperity at home and peace abroad. His conservatism is not a dogma. Trump seeks to conserve our best values at home, and not go abroad promoting monolithic internationalism — a monster of many tentacles, as John Quincy Adams warned.

Trump is not a conservative as defined by George F. Will on one of his Weekly Standard cruises. Will, a former Democrat, is in reality no conservative, but is actually a 19th-century liberal ideologue, of the Manchester school of economics. Trump’s thinking is more akin to the nationalism expressed by Theodore Roosevelt, who believed the government should intervene in the economy to protect all Americans, under what he called the Square Deal.

I believe Trump has been under political assault by the media and establishment because he is beholden to no one. Trump runs his own operation from the fifth floor of Trump Tower, in a kind of unfinished storage area. It is not from the plush surroundings of marble and gold featured in “The Apprentice.” Yet from here, with his small group of campaign staff, he has let forth a cry to Washington insiders and the corrupt political establishment: “You’re fired!” It is a cry like a voice from Mount Olympus that echoes in the hearts of the American people and will put him in the White House by a landslide.



Libertarian Caring

Aaron Ross Powell  debunks the notion that libertarians are uncaring

We value liberty at the expense of caring. That’s the takeaway about libertarians from Jonathan Haidt’s compelling new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. The basic idea in The Righteous Mind is that humans have six “moral foundations.” We vary in how much importance we place on each—and that variety explains our political views. Libertarians give the “care/harm” foundation very little weight at all.

I think Haidt is wrong about libertarians—or at least not completely right. Of course libertarians value liberty. But a great many of us, myself included, value caring very highly too. In fact, the reason I shifted from being a progressive to a libertarian was not because my moral foundations changed but because I came to realize that genuine caring means making an effort to actually help people—and that government programs intended to help have a rather poor track record.

I am a libertarian because I want a better—more caring, more fair—society and I believe enhancing the private sphere at the expense of government power is the best way to achieve that. I also strongly believe that liberty, which is after all entirely about how we treat other people, is central to both caring and fairness. Expansive government not only makes things worse from the standpoint of economic consequences, but also creates a world that is less caring and less fair.

Of libertarians, Haidt writes,

> We found that libertarians look more like liberals than like conservatives on most measures of personality (for example, both groups score higher than conservatives on openness to experience, and lower than conservatives on disgust sensitivity and conscientiousness). On the Moral Foundations Questionnaire, libertarians join liberals in scoring very low on the Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity foundations. Where they diverge from liberals most sharply is on two measures: the Care foundation, where they score very low (even lower than conservatives), and on some new questions we added about economic liberty, where they score extremely high (a little higher than conservatives, a lot higher than liberals).

You can take Haidt’s tests online and see how you compare to his findings. (I encourage you to do so, as the tests are quite interesting and revealing.)

Here’s his explanation of how libertarians diverge from liberals on specific questions:

> For example, do you agree that “the government should do more to advance the common good, even if that means limiting the freedom and choices of individuals”? If so, then you are probably a liberal. If not, then you could be either a libertarian or a conservative. The split between liberals (progressives) and libertarians (classical liberals) occurred over exactly this question more than a hundred years ago, and it shows up clearly in our data today. People with libertarian ideals have generally supported the Republican Party since the 1930s because libertarians and Republicans have a common enemy: the liberal welfare society that they believe is destroying America’s liberty (for libertarians) and moral fiber (for social conservatives).

Yes, libertarians believe the welfare state impinges liberty. But we also believe it harms those it’s intended to help. Thus, we want to reform welfare and entitlement programs in large part because we care about their recipients.1 Social Security doesn’t just mean the government deciding what to do with your money. It also means making you poorer in your twilight years than you would’ve been had you invested that money in a private account.

Of course, libertarians might be wrong about what helps and what hurts. Maybe we’re mistaken in our policy prescriptions. But those mistakes, if they exist, aren’t because we “care” less than liberals, just as mistakes by liberals (should their policies in fact not work) aren’t the result of them caring less than libertarians.

Haidt writes,

> This helps explain why libertarians have sided with the Republican Party in recent decades. Libertarians care about liberty almost to the exclusion of all other concerns, and their conception of liberty is the same as that of the Republicans: it is the right to be left alone, free from government interference.

Again, no. Liberty does not come at the exclusion of all other concerns. Rather, liberty is the best way to maximize all other concerns. Yes there are libertarians who want nothing more than “to be left alone.” But that feeling doesn’t carry with it Haidt’s implied “and screw all the rest of you.” Instead, “left alone” means freed from officious government so we can better go about making the world a happier, healthier, richer, and more caring place.

I also find the wording of Haidt’s question troubling. What’s the “common good?” Who decides? What sorts of limits on “freedom and choices” are we talking about? The answers to those questions are awfully important before any of us can respond with a simple yes or no.



Just How 'Far Right' Is the GOP Platform?

Both The New York Times and NBC News have recently run stories on the GOP’s preparation for its upcoming national convention in Cleveland next week. In their “reporting” on the Republican platform and its field of speakers, two telling words were invoked — “far” and “extreme” — buzz words that the Left often uses in seeking to dissuade anyone from taking conservative ideas seriously.

“Rudy Giuliani … the far-right former mayor of New York City will also speak [at the GOP national convention],” reported NBC News. That was later redacted and replaced with the description that Giuliani is “extremely conservative on national security issues.” Giuliani is strong on national defense, but he’s also pro-gun control and pro-abortion. Hardly “far right.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times headlined, “Emerging Republican Platform Goes Far to the Right.” What are these “far” right and “extreme” conservative issues that make up the Republican Party platform? Four of the major planks of the party’s platform to be highlighted at the convention are: 1. a strong immigration policy, 2. support for traditional marriage and opposition to forced assimilation into the Barack Obama’s transgender bathroom directive, 3. support for a strong national defense, and 4. an “America First” policy when it comes to international trade agreements.

There is nothing novel about these Republican ideals — and most certainly no movement to the “far right.” In fact, was it not Obama who stated in October 2010, “I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understanding of the traditional definitions of marriage”? In other words, until just a few years ago, the Republican platform was what nearly all Americans believed. So exactly which party should more accurately be described as being “far” and “extreme”? Where Leftmedia outlets are concerned, if you’re not moving their direction, then you are the “extremist.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Goldwater era changed the GOP, so could the Trump nomination

A combustible, contrarian candidate. A mood of revolt inside the Republican Party. The repudiation of a governor from a family that enjoyed the warm embrace of the political establishment. Political elders in retreat — and in horror.

Donald J. Trump and the insurgents who open their nominating convention tomorrow night in Cleveland may be the vanguard of a Republican insurrection that could remake a 160-year-old political party with roots in a frontier and abolitionist past. And if they are, they are part of a tradition that at hectic hours of history has seen American parties, which don’t change easily or often, adapt to new political conditions and adopt new ideas, transforming themselves even as they may also be agents of social and cultural transformation.

Already this year, the Trump insurrection — a hostile takeover rather than an internal mutiny — has set in motion unpredictable tidal waves of change in the nation and the party, waves that utterly and easily swamped the early favorite and the field.

But it has also summoned echoes of an earlier GOP rebellion, one that began with Barry Goldwater in 1964 and in less than two decades overhauled the Republican Party, challenged many of the assumptions of American life, altered the way politics is practiced, and, by the time that tide was at full flood, in 1980, began an era of Republican domination of the White House that lasted for 20 of the next 28 years.

Back in 1964, 1,308 Republican delegates crowded into San Francisco’s primitive Cow Palace for the party’s convention. For months, Republicans had fought not only to determine the identity of their White House nominee but also to reshape the identity of a party that, to the Goldwater forces, seemed a mere mirror of their Democratic rivals — “dime-store New Dealers,’’ in the withering phrase of the Arizona senator.

Fortified with a sense of daring and destiny, those 1964 Republicans nominated the personification of that era’s new conservatism, a son of the desert West, supported by theorists and publicists in the urban East, determined to reshape a party with a liberal wing into an unalloyedly conservative movement. In doing so, they rendered Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York, the establishment Republican who was primed for the presidency but never really got close, a figure of a discredited past — the precursor, historians may conclude, to the mortifying end of the 2016 candidacy of former governor Jeb Bush of Florida.

Even after Goldwater lost 44 states in a landslide repudiation, the future profile of the Republican Party was not yet clear — a cautionary tale for commentators and worried Republicans who predict a GOP debacle this year and perhaps extending to the future.

“Goldwater got clobbered in 1964 but set in motion the modern Republican conservative movement,’’ said Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University historian. “He made it palatable to be a conservative. It wasn’t clear then that that would be the result, nor was it clear that out of the ashes of that disaster would come Ronald Reagan. We also don’t know the result of the Trump nomination. It may be a disaster for the Republicans — or the beginning of a new Republican populist movement.’’

And so now the Republicans prepare to nominate another outsider determined to remold the party. Though this time the intruder is not so much conservative as confrontational, not so much an ideologue as an insurrectionist, not so much inspired by ideas as by his mood of the moment — impulses, sometimes outrageous but always attention grabbing, meted out tweet by tweet and jibe by jibe.

Trump is every bit as disruptive a force as Goldwater, with a constituency — resentful of immigrants, distrustful of establishment figures, disdainful of the totems and taboos of politics — even more rebellious and incongruous than the 1964 rebels, whose ranks included both intellectuals and the Young Americans for Freedom. Indeed, he may be the greater disruptor: Goldwater was careful not to inflame in talking about matters of race, for example, and his famous trope, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” wouldn’t sound especially radical in the mouth of a GOP contender today.

“I hope we end up in a position where the party can heal and rebuild itself after this,” said former representative Vin Weber of Minnesota, a GOP strategist. “This is a challenge to the party at the level we faced in 1964 and again after Watergate.’’

This is not, of course, the first time rebels have assailed a major political party, and in fact in his “House Divided’’ speech in June 1859, delivered in Springfield, Ill., Abraham Lincoln spoke of the young Republican Party as having been made up of “strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements.’’

The Republicans of that early era survived, and today’s almost certainly will, too. The GOP, after all, controls 34 of the 50 governors’ chairs in the nation and the Congress. Still, some see the potential for a seismic shift.

“There’s a chance,’’ said former GOP governor William F. Weld, now the vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, “that the Republican Party could be in the middle of a dissolution.’’

Major political parties vanish from the American landscape very rarely, and then only as a result of a challenge prompted by an explosion of new issues. The last major party to disappear was the Whig Party, the victim of anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly in the South, and of pressure on the slavery issue.

“The Whigs were pretty powerful in their day,’’ said Eric Foner, the Columbia University historian regarded as perhaps the nation’s preeminent scholar of mid-19th-century America. “They elected presidents, they competed pretty effectively across the country. But they were overcome in the early 1850s as the issues changed.”

The populists under William Jennings Bryan took over the Democratic Party in 1896, beginning a transformation that, under Woodrow Wilson and then Franklin Roosevelt, would embrace government as a powerful tool of social change.

And then came the transformative flood tide begun in 1964. Only 16 years after the Goldwater debacle, conservatives under Reagan, a onetime New Deal Democrat, took over the Republican Party and created perhaps the most powerful and devoutly conservative coalition in American history, their principal competition being the Tories who opposed the American Revolution and some pre-1861 supporters of slavery.

This forced both parties to become more ideological, with the Republicans eventually losing their liberal wing and the Democrats, an unwieldy collection of northern liberals and Southern conservatives and segregationists, eventually becoming a progressive party under the sway of, among others, women employed outside the home, minorities, and campus intellectuals shaped by 1960s rebellion.

Indeed, 1964 was also a key moment in the life of the Democratic Party. That was the year Lyndon B. Johnson fought for, and won, a civil rights bill that transformed the lives of black people in America but also began a transformation of the character of the Democratic Party. Its Solid South withered away; former governor George C. Wallace of Alabama and former vice president Richard Nixon would woo and win many of those Southern Democrats in 1968, and Reagan would complete the transformation in 1980. Today, three-quarters of the House seats in the Old Confederacy are controlled by the GOP.

As a result, the Republicans, who once ran city machines in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and San Francisco, are now a resolutely Southern and suburban party. The Democrats, their dependence on the South for electoral primacy now a faint and painful memory, have evolved into a party whose strength resides in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic states, and the Pacific West.

And both parties are still evolving, the GOP most obviously.

“Trump has said he sees a different party in a few years,’’ Weld said, “and I think he’s right.’’

An important new addition to the Republican Party, attracted into the GOP by Trump, is what Dennis Goldford, a Drake University political scientist, calls “the middle-finger segment of the American electorate.’’ Many of those voters were Democrats a generation ago.

The Goldwater insurgency eventually produced an entirely different Republican Party, and there are some similarities to the Trump ascendancy, particularly in the ire or worry it inspires in some.

“The Republicans seem to be about to nominate a candidate whose views of war and peace and other subjects have alarmed and alienated great numbers of people in his own party,’’ the commentator Joseph Alsop wrote on the eve of the GOP convention in 1964. The columnist Walter Lippmann, who by 1964 was regarded as the mouthpiece of the capital establishment, had a similar view. “Senator Goldwater,’’ he said, “has a passion to divide and dominate.’’

That alarm — and that passion — takes its modern form in Trump, whose contempt for what Capitol Hill parliamentarians call the “regular order’’ is if anything greater than that of Goldwater, who was liked by Democrats and was friendly with John F. Kennedy.

The agony in the modern Republican Party may be best reflected in the pages of The National Review, the conservative magazine that was founded by William F. Buckley Jr. and that provided much of the philosophical rigor of the Goldwater movement.

In the space of four pages in its June 13 issue, Ramesh Ponnuru warned that Trump “would make the Republican Party less conservative while simultaneously discrediting conservatism with large portions of the public, perhaps for many years,’’ while another writer, Jay Nordlinger, added: “He is the brand of the party. As I see it, or smell it, an odor now attaches to the GOP, and it will linger long past 2016, no matter what happens on Election Day.’’

The verdict of Election Day may be the least significant part of this. Like Andrew Jackson in the first third of the 19th century, Mr. Trump is an unusual political figure, with no apparent successor of even remotely equal voltage. But the emergence of Trump as the GOP nominee has itself presented the Republican Party with either the threat or the opportunity to change its composition and its image, as the early Democrats did under Jackson.

“Parties continually change,’’ said former Republican governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. “There are people in both parties who want something different. But I’m not sure they know what they want.’’

The Manhattan businessman appeals to a group of voters the Republicans have had difficulty attracting — working-class whites and those in sales and clerical positions. Along with the middle-finger voters, Americans with this profile have from time to time backed Republicans; they supported Reagan, for example, in 1980 and 1984. But they haven’t become enduringly aligned with the party. It’s possible Trump could move them into the GOP permanently.

“If that happened, and if it persisted, the Republicans would be a very different party,’’ said John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. “Trump doesn’t have to win to reorganize the coalition. If he simply gets a different set of voters than George W. Bush and John McCain attracted, and if it persisted, we could see a reorganization of all of our politics, including the Democratic Party.’’

The Democrats have had their rebellions, too, the last one occurring as the young Hillary Rodham, a onetime “Goldwater Girl,’’ was coming of age politically as an activist student at Wellesley College and later as a law student at Yale.

The assault on the party establishment and the effort to reshape the party after Vietnam and the youth rebellions is congruent with the life of another onetime presidential candidate, former senator Gary Hart of Colorado, who was the campaign manager for Senator George S. McGovern of South Dakota in 1972 and later was a reform-oriented presidential candidate in 1984 and in 1988.

The Hart critique has eerie similarities to the current crisis in the Republican Party.

“I don’t think the Democratic Party has ever gotten ahead of the change curve,’’ Hart said in an interview. “We’ve been responding to events more than anticipating them. But so have the Republicans. . . . Trump took over a party that was stagnant and exploited people’s frustrations.’’

Now those frustrations are expressed and addressed in a Republican Party platform that will likely attract careful attention and likely will be studied by historians for decades. The meaning of the Trump moment can only now be guessed at — just as was true of those struggling to make sense of Goldwater’s nomination in 1964.

“No one can yet define accurately what happened to the Republican Party at San Francisco — whether the forces that seized it were ephemeral or were to become permanently a majority that would alter and perhaps end the Republican Party as known through a century of American history,’’ the election chronicler Theodore H. White wrote months after the 1964 Republican convention. “This will become clear only as the years throw perspective.’’

The 2016 platform, and the party that is to ratify it, represents a major departure in American history. As White wrote almost a half-century ago, their import and impact will become clear only as the years throw perspective. They may prove, as so many Trump critics inside the Republican Party are arguing, a recipe for trouble come Election Day and a longer term narrowing of GOP prospects. They may prove quite the opposite. But, as with the party’s proudly provocative nominee, they will not be ignored.



Something the media will never tellyou


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, July 18, 2016

The Progressively Bloody Price of Obama/Clinton Appeasement

An Islamic terrorist added more than 85 civilians to the growing list of murdered Western civilians. The Obama/Clinton silence is deafening.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, we are preparing solemn observances for the five military personnel murdered by an Islamic terrorist on July 16th of last year.

Barack Obama waited five long days before ordering flags to half staff in their honor. His administration waited five long months before declaring the attack terrorism, and finally issuing Purple Hearts to those killed and wounded at the Naval Reserve center here. The Chattanooga attack was followed by increasingly violent attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando.

Notably, my friend LCDR Tim White, was the only armed person at that Navy facility — and he returned fire to provide cover for his people. As I wrote after the Jihad attack at Ft. Hood, military personnel are prohibited from having firearms on military bases, but The Patriot Post and military support groups objected to prosecution of White and the Navy filed no charges. In fact, today the Navy officially announced it will require armed personnel at Naval centers nationwide, no longer leaving them exposed as “gun-free zones.”

Last night, more Americans were killed by an Islamist assailant. Sean Copeland and his 11-year-old son Brodie from Austin, Texas, were among 84 men, women and children murdered, and many more critically injured, after Islamist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, yelling “Allahu Akbar,” plowed his deadly 15-ton “assault weapon” into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. This was the bloodiest attack on French soil since last November’s Paris attack by another “JV team” member, as Obama calls them.

There were also French Muslims among the infidels slaughtered by their fellow Muslim on the Promenade of Angels. Hamza Charrihi, whose mother was among the dead, told L'Express: “She wore the veil of Islam and practiced a true and balanced religion … a real Islam. Not the one of the terrorists.”

The assailant had “assault rifles and grenades,” all of which were later determined to be inert. But his assault truck was anything but.

Bouhlel and his truck were on the closed street hours before the celebration. He had been questioned several times by French police. Though he had been investigated by police for a violent crime in the last year, they did not ask him to move his truck — most likely avoiding any charges of profiling.

So, let’s quickly review.

After 9/11, George Bush declared a global “War on Terror,” prosecuting al-Qa'ida terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere — and keeping the battle on their soil rather than ours.

Shortly after his 2008 election, Obama declared an end to the War on Terror and vowed to retreat from the region.

As we noted in 2011, Obama’s foreign policy appeasement, particularly his ill-advised re-election campaign retreat from Iraq, created a meltdown in the Middle East, and the resulting power vacuum was quickly filled by the Islamic State.

Consequently, hundreds of thousands of Christians and Muslims have been slaughtered in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, and growing numbers of civilians in Europe and the United States are being murdered. Their blood is, irrevocably, on Obama’s hands, and by extension, that of his inept former secretary of state and heir-apparent, Hillary Clinton.

For her part, when asked about the latest Islamic attack, Clinton reasserted her ineptitude. “They would love to draw the United States into a ground war,” she said. “I would be very focused on the intelligence surge.” Asked about the Islamic ideology behind the attacks, she said, “It’s not so important what we call these people as what we do about them.”

Memo to Clinton: We are in a ground war right now, and it is, with increasing frequency and lethality, on western ground. As for an “intelligence surge,” she has not experienced one of those since partnering with Bill Clinton back in 1975. On “what we do about them,” Clinton, like Obama, has no idea.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Obama’s former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, repeated what he has also been warning about the War on Terror since Obama ordered the withdrawal from Iraq: We’re “losing the war.” He added, “The enemy has more than doubled in capacity and capability and geographical footprint around the world. We’ve lost the strategic initiative in this war. And the enemy has the strategic initiative.”

Flynn asserts, “Good intelligence has to start with properly and clearly defining this enemy. Within the government, within the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, [Obama] has eliminated any training or any use of the term ‘radical Islam.’ That’s what we’re facing. The president says, ‘What difference does it make what you call the enemy.’ Are you kidding me?”

Yesterday, political observer Charles Krauthammer declared, “Obama is certainly responsible for the resurgence. … Al-Qa'ida in Iraq, the progenitor of ISIS, was defeated, humiliated in 2008 by the [Bush administration]. We had the boot on the neck of ISIS and al-Qa'ida in Iraq and released it. Obama thought if we could run away, if we could withdraw, if we get out of the region, we could show the Muslims, as he said in the Cairo speech, that we are their friends and everything would be fine. Of course the opposite happened — he’s been in denial.”

With equal clarity, Newt Gingrich responded, “Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be. Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia — glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. We need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are. Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS or al-Qa'ida or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail.”

Following each attack on American soil, Obama has politically pivoted to “gun control” as the solution. But neither “gun control” nor “truck control” will resolve this metastasizing threat.

As for all the media “terrorism experts,” two key points.

First, some have suggested that because ISIL is claimed to be losing ground in Iraq, that assaults in the West are increasing.

That claim is absurd. As I have warned, Jihadistan, the worldwide caliphate that Islamist extremists are seeking to establish, is not about geographic territory. It is about ideological territory.

Second, they are trotting out the “lone wolf” profile, but that claim is equally absurd. All Jihad Terrorists are directly tied to worldwide Jihad by way of the Qur'an, the foundational fabric linking all of Islamist violence. Describing Islamist assailants as “lone wolf” actors or “radicalized” constitutes a lethal misunderstanding of the Jihadi threat.

Finally, as I warned in “Islamic Jihad — Target USA,” “The most likely near-term form of attack against civilians on our turf will be modeled after the conventional Islamist assaults in the Middle East — vehicle bombs, suicide bombs and mass shootings.” We have now seen that across Western Europe and increasingly in the U.S.

But as I noted previously, Islamists have proposed using vehicles as assault weapons since 9/11. Vehicle attacks are common in Israel and this was the fourth Islamist attack in France using a vehicle. Recall that Mohammed Taheri-azar drove his SUV into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina, and Omeed Aziz Popal drove his SUV in a crowd at a Jewish community center in San Francisco. What would this look like at Times Square on New Year’s Eve, or other mass pedestrian venues?

A new easily accessible weapon of mass murder has emerged.

Footnote: Regarding the “deafening silence” from Obama and Clinton, I am still awaiting the stern condemnation of these Islamist assaults, foreign or domestic, from a unified chorus of American Muslim clerics, national or local…or even one Imam’s condemnation.



The Democrat party's platform is more socialist all the time

Back in the waning days of the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama told a frenzied crowd in Columbia, Missouri, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Eight years later, as the Democrat Party prepares to formally anoint Hillary Clinton as his would-be successor, we find that the transformation has occurred in the party as well.

The Democrats' official platform will be released next week, but as The Wall Street Journal’s William Galston writes, Democrats are “animated by the frustrations of the Obama years and reshaped by waves of economic and social activism.” We’re not sure exactly what the Democrats could be frustrated about, considering they’ve effectively taken over the health and financial sectors, redefined the concepts of marriage and gender, all but erased our southern border to allow nearly unfettered immigration, and decimated viable industries like coal through ham-fisted regulation — and that’s just in the last eight years. They even have the convenient bogeyman of a Republican Congress — one that has talked tough to its base but was mostly steamrolled by the purveyors of these far-Left initiatives.

If you ask the Democrats, though, this election will be about “free” stuff: a vastly increased minimum wage, “no-cost” college education, wealth transfers from rich to poor and old to young, and money for nothing by way of a paid-leave revision to the Family and Medical Leave Act. (The funds to pay for all this would magically appear by taxing certain financial transactions — never mind the economic damage that those taxes would cause.) They call it addressing “inequality,” but no one can ensure equal outcomes except through brute force. Which reminds us — the Left also wants further regulations on the type and ownership of weapons for private citizens interested in exercising their Second Amendment rights.

And the party that booed the very mention of God last time around will push to be the judge and jury of what constitutes “environmental and climate justice.” Gaia would be so proud.

Democrats also “reward” the ethnic group that votes with them more than 90% of the time by keeping them wards of the welfare state and shamefully supporting the racist “Black Lives Matter” movement. It’s worth pointing out that black lives only matter to Democrats once they emerge from the womb, as the plurality of abortions in this country are of black babies. And black lives don’t matter much to the Left when the vast majority of their murders are committed by other blacks on Democrat-run urban poverty plantations. The unfortunate truth is, black votes are what matter to Democrats.

So while the Republican platform is being described as a “far-right” one, it’s unclear whether the presumptive nominee will follow it to the letter, particularly on its more socially conservative aspects. But no such problem will exist for Democrats with Hillary Clinton. In fact, given the precarious balance of the Supreme Court, she may do more damage in one four-year term than Obama did in eight — especially if she has long enough coattails to flip the House and Senate. (Then again, a toothless Republican-controlled Congress provides a perfect lightning rod for criticism when the Democrats hold the White House.)

The last eight years have emboldened the Left to think they can get away with almost anything, so it’s not a shock that their platform is ambitious, pedal-to-the-medal socialism. We may be fortunate that the face of it belongs to the wildly unlikable and untrustworthy Hillary Clinton.



There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslim matters


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)